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Why Constraints are a Vital Piece in the Creative Process Puzzle


November 18, 2014

When you think of the creation of art, you may think of an artist’s palette filled with paints, a blank canvas, and the endless possibilities of what could be formed on the canvas. Anything artists imagine can flow from their hands onto the canvas. However, if I told you to sit down right now and “make art”, the first thing you might ask yourself is, “what do I want to make?”. A landscape of an open valley? A portrait of a family member? Maybe a cubist painting like the works of Pablo Picasso. If any of these ideas were something you thought, what you have actually done is constrained yourself. In the process of creating art, you limited your own ability to one subject.

While this may seem like a negative aspect of producing art, making boundaries for yourself isn’t a necessarily bad. Rather, constraints give a starting point to think more creatively. They help us to think more intuitively. On an average day, your car might break down, a friend might cancel dinner plans last minute, and you may forget to record your favorite show. These are all life obstacles, but at the same time, they make us think of how to overcome the problems at hand. You may take the bus to work instead of your car, you might end up making an amazing home-cooked meal, and you remember that you can watch your favorite show online. The constraints of everyday life make it possible to think outside the box.

Constraints help us to form works of art that are similar in design. Omitting or admitting certain criteria from constraints help to shape our work and narrow down broad ideas into more precise ideas. So the next time you come across a difficulty, don’t give up or be discouraged. This is just another starting point for creative thinking and overcoming the problems at hand.

Written by Ben Shuckman (Princeton Partners, Inc. Intern)